Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas! email from 12-19-11

posted for Christine by Jana

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Well, another week down...And I'm transferring. I don't know where to, but I will be told Wednesday. So I'm packing once much fun....yeah...Anyway, we have had a fabulous week. It just disappeared. We have been just running around like mad women! It's crazy to think that Christmas is less than a week away. Especially when the temperatures are in the 70s...hahaha I love it!!!
The mission had a Christmas party Thursday. We had approximately 150 missionaries gathered in the stake center here in Orange Park. WOW!!! So many suits! haha It was such a wonderful day. It started with a talent show that was hilarious. Boy do the Elders know how to entertain. I tried to attach a video of the of the Elders doing the Haka but it's too large, :( . Most of you probably know the Haka from the movie Forever Strong because the Highland rugby team does that before every game. Our Elders do that at every door....just kidding!!!! Anyway then we had a wonderful dinner provided by the members of the stake here. Talk about service! I don't even want to think about the coordination it took to feed 150 missionaries. We ended with a devotional that was wonderful. Sister Barry made her own little nativity program up with some speaking parts and musical numbers. I even sang in the choir for it. It was such a wonderful way to remember the birth of our Savior. Thanks for the letters! It was so fun to open and read those that day. You are wonderful!
I got to meet a member of Bonnie and Richards ward at the Christmas party, and she is friends with Bonnie so she took a picture of me and text it to Bonnie. She just walked up to me and said "You're Sister McCracken! My daughter is really good friends with Sister Pierson!" Now if only I could see the Pierson's in person (hint hint, call president! haha kidding).
So get this, I sang in church yesterday. It totally scared me to do it. Sister Knickerbocker and I sang a duet of Mary Did You Know. I may have forgotten to mention that she is a professional vocalist so I was scared to sing a duet with someone who has so much training and skills. But I worked hard and pulled it off. It was so wonderful. We had a few people teared up (hopefully it wasn't from pain from my high notes...haha) Lots of people told us afterward it was beautiful and really brought the Spirit. So I'm going to tell myself I did ok. :)
I got some sad news yesterday. Sister Patterson called me and told me she's flying home today.She hasn't gotten any better since I left Gainesville and has actually gotten sicker. So they are sending her home to get better. She's hoping that it can be resolved and she can come back in a couple months. But that was sad for me to hear my trainer is leaving the mission. We've had 3 sisters go home early for different reasons this fall. It's pretty sad.
So to explain the pictures...
The first one is of Sister Mendivelso (from Colombia) and I. She is a Temple Square missionary that came to our mission for two transfers for her outbound time that visitor center missionaries do. She and I did a few exchanges together when I was in Gainesville. Oh how I love her.
The second in the ceramic Santa I got from one of the wards here. All of the wards gave gifts for the missionaries in their stakes and we got bags of gifts at the Christmas party. Well, I got a ceramic santa that holds a votive candle. I think it's beautiful and all, but I'm a little perplexed that it was given with the intention of giving it to a missionary. I may try to send it home since I find it a little hilarious.
I love you all!
Someone eat some sushi for me this week so I know at least someone got to enjoy a birthday lunch for me. :)
This holiday season can get hectic and people will easily get caught up in the materialistic side and frustrate us, but being frustrated doesn't do anything, instead be the change and make your holiday about Christ.
Merry Christmas!!!!!
Sister McCracken
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